Choosing the Best Mattress for You

mattressesHealth experts agree the average mattress should be replaced after 10-15 years. But traditional mattress types have given way to new breeds. If you are in the market for a new mattress, which type is best for you?

“The only way to choose the right mattress is to lie on it for at least 20 minutes,” said Omaha mattress store manager Joe Paginolo. “Don’t let anyone rush you. Get comfy in the position you usually sleep in—and try it out for at least that long.”

Paginolo points out some of the pros and cons of four basic mattress types:

Innerspring

  • Pros: They range in firmness, price and fluffiness of the pillow top to satisfy nearly everyone’s preference and budget.
  • Cons – The cheapest may not have enough springs and cushioning to offer proper support. Be sure the mattress you choose has at least 390 coils. Firmer versions are best for the overweight and people with chronic back pain.

Memory foam

  • Pros: By molding to the shape of your body as your weight shifts through the night, memory foam reduces pressure points and relieves pain. Memory foam also absorbs movement, so if you sleep with a partner, you’re not likely to be disturbed by his tossing and turning.
  • Cons – Because they are temperature sensitive, they soften and mold with body heat, so they can make you feel hot during the night. Also, some memory foam mattresses have been known to emit an unpleasant chemical smell.

Latex

  • Pros – Made from either natural or synthetic rubber, they provide a very firm, bouncy support that is uniform throughout the bed. They are supportive but comfortable for most sleepers.
  • Cons – If you don’t like the feel of a firm mattress, latex is probably not the right choice for you.

Air mattresses – (Unlike the blow-up kind you use for overnight guests, the high-end types known as ‘sleep number’ beds use air-filled chambers instead of coils, and are covered by a foam layer on top.)

  • Pros – The firmness of each side can be altered, so they are a good choice for couples who have different firmness preferences.
  • Cons – They can tend to pop up on one side when you sit on the other. Be sure your choice has multiple chambers, so this does not occur.

***Choosing the Best Mattress for You was written By- Barbara Pronin***

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New Study Suggests Strong Outlook for Green Home

Green HomesDuring the prolonged housing downturn, green homes provided support to the ailing residential market and now promise to be an important element of the recovering market as well, according to a new study conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and with the support of Ply Gem Industries, a leading manufacturer of exterior building products in North America.

Despite the headwinds created by growing concerns about the cost of building green, a high percentage of home builders and re-modelers are already building green and expect to do so in the future. While home builders and re-modelers report that consumers of all ages are interested in green, the study also finds that consumers age 55 and older are the most important group driving the current green market. The findings also demonstrate that consumers’ association of green with healthier homes leads to even higher potential for growth in the future, as do increased use of renewable technologies by 2018. To download the new study, “Green and Healthier Homes: Engaging Consumers of All Ages in Sustainable Living SmartMarket Report,” click here.

  • The 2015 study, which surveyed 232 builders and re-modelers from across the U.S., demonstrates that they recognize the benefits of green building:
  • Over half (54 percent) of home builders are currently constructing at least 16% of their new homes green, and 39% of re-modelers report that at least 16% of their remodeling projects are green.
  • By 2020, nearly all (81 percent) home builders will be constructing that level of green, with over half (51 percent) building at least 60 percent of their new homes green.

By 2020, re-modelers report a similar level of growth, with nearly three-quarters (74 percent) making at least 16% of their projects green, and over one-third (36 percent) completing over 60 percent of their projects green.

These expectations of higher green involvement emerge despite growing concerns about the cost of building green. 77 percent of home builders and re-modelers report that building gogreenhomegreen has an incremental cost over traditional construction of 5 percent or more, notably higher than the 60 percent in 2014 and 58% in 2011 who noted that level of increased cost. While higher cost is also the top obstacle to green reported, it does not appear to have dampened the drive toward green in the market.

“Builders and re-modelers have long recognized that green is the future of home building,” said NAHB Chairman Tom Woods, a home builder from Blue Springs, MO. “Since we first began partnering on this study with Dodge Data & Analytics in 2006, we’ve seen that commitment grow. The study’s recent findings reinforce this continued growth, with new homeowner feedback showing a desire and expectation that new homes be high-performing, particularly when it comes to energy conservation. Most builders recognize that they need to be at least conversant in green to stay competitive.”

One key factor driving the growth of green is the association of green homes with healthier living. Home builders and re-modelers certainly recognize the potential: most (83 percent) believe that consumers will pay more for homes that are healthier.

“We have seen the commercial sector of the construction industry focus on the impact of buildings on the health of their occupants in the last few years, but these findings suggest that attention to healthier homes may offer an even higher gain for green in the residential market,” said Steve Jones, Senior Director of Industry Insights at Dodge Data & Analytics, “especially as consumers become better informed about the features that make homes more sustainable and healthier, and begin to demand them.”

Another factor leading to growth in the residential market is the increasing use of renewable energy. The study demonstrates that the use of renewable technologies is expected to grow across the board, revealing an interest in energy performance that goes beyond green. By 2018, nearly half of home builders and re-modelers expect to be using solar photo-voltaic (48 percent) and ground source heat pump (52 percent) technologies. Net zero homes are also emerging as an important trend, with nearly one-quarter (21 percent) of home builders having built a net zero home in the last two years.

One interesting finding of the new study is that the greatest impetus for green homes comes, not from millennials as many people might expect, but from consumers age 55 and older. Data from the study suggest that greater familiarity with home features leads to an emphasis on home performance. Therefore, as the environmentally minded millennials gain more experience with home ownership, it is quite possible that there could be even greater demand for green in the future.

To download the new study, “Green and Healthier Homes: Engaging Consumers of All Ages in Sustainable Living” SmartMarket Report, click here.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties WingHaven/Lake St Louis                   Office, 636-720-3000 & St Charles County Office 636-720-1100                   Experience, Integrity & Teamwork, “Successful Formula For Better Results”

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10 Easy Home Upgrades That Can Increase Your Homes Value

 

living-room-728732_640Whether planning to sell the house, have it rented out, or simply for personal satisfaction, a little renovation and upgrade is always necessary to help increase its market value. In order to boost a house’s value in the market, it is first important to learn what prospective buyers or tenants are searching for in a house. For most homeowners, the biggest concern is usually the budget required for upgrade, renovation and home maintenance.

The great news is that there’s no need to spend thousands of dollars for home improvements. Just follow these 10 tips for the best home upgrades to add home value.

1. Knock down a wall and go for open concept. Not only will it create an illusion of a bigger space, but it is a home design trend that is very much in demand today. Just make sure to have the wall assessed for possible electrical wires housed behind it before hitting it with a sledge-hammer.

2. Make the kitchen area workable. This means making the kitchen area a functional place where you can actually cook a decent meal. Update faucets, fix leaking pipes, buff the counters and repaint cupboards and cabinets. It is not necessary to replace everything with a new kitchen system. Simply repaint worn out furniture and replace outdated knobs with modern handles to make it look more expensive.

3. Brighten up the bath. Bathrooms are among the most important considerations for many tenants and prospective home buyers so it is pertinent to get this area of the house right. Buff up the tiles and replace the faucets, shower heads and toilet seats. There’s no need to replace all the tiles, just those that are cracked and chipped. The trick is to find the right cleaning agent that can help whiten the tiles to make it look good as new.

4. Add more storage. 
If there’s an extra wall or area of the house that does not seem to have any function, add in a laminate closet system or have a carpenter install small built-in cabinets, racks or pantries. Making every extra space of the house functional will help make it look more livable.

5. Turn that extra space into an extra room. A house with a lot of rooms will always look impressive when advertised in the market. If the house has a huge attic, a den, or extra space that can be turned into another room then by all means, fix it up to look like an additional room. Simply add in a built-in closet and a window and it should be good to accommodate.

6. Update the lighting system.
 Still using an old chandelier or unflattering fluorescent lamps? Hire an electrician to place some decorative lighting fixtures or dimmers that will give the house a more modern feel and mask any unflattering curves on the walls and ceilings.

7. Buff the floors.
 The moment a buyer or tenant steps inside the front door the first thing they will notice are the floors. Tiled or hardwood floors need to be buffed till it sparkles. Carpeted floors need a touch of professional carpet cleaning to make it look, smell and feel brand new. Hiring professional cleaners is a small investment compared to the big impact it will make.

8. Apply a fresh coat of paint on the walls or replace an uncharacteristic door with a rustic barn door. Choose modern color palettes to give the house a fresh new look.

9. Add outdoor dining furniture in the front lawn or backyard. These areas can become extended living and dining areas.

10. Hire an electrical and plumbing service to look at the overall state of the house. It is much better to catch the problems early on than find out much later when the problem has already worsened such as replacing the entire plumbing system or re-wiring the entire house.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties WingHaven/Lake St Louis                   Office, 636-720-3000 & St Charles County Office 636-720-1100                   Experience, Integrity & Teamwork, “Successful Formula For Better Results”

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5 Ways to Winterize Your Landscaping

Snow for the Holidays

5 Steps to Winterizing Your Landscape

Autumn is an important time of year for home maintenance, especially outdoors. The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) recommends homeowners prepare their yards for colder months before the fall chill sets in.

“It’s a common misconception that just because most plants and gardens aren’t actively blooming in the fall, they don’t require maintenance during the colder months,” says NALP Vice President of Public Affairs Missy Henriksen. “Many homeowners work hard all spring and summer to care for their yards and gardens, only to let them languish once colder weather arrives.”

According to Henriksen, there are five simple steps homeowners can take to care for their landscape through fall and winter.

1. Start Planting
Fall is the time to plant flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips, as well as perennials, trees and shrubs. The warm soil is great for root development, and plants have several months to establish themselves before the stress of the summer heat.

2. Rake Leaves
Rake and remove leaves to avoid damage to grass. Doing so can also protect water quality. In winter, freezing and thawing can cause leaves, dead grass, plants and other organic debris to release soluble forms of phosphate and nitrates. If these chemicals run off frozen ground during spring snow melt and early spring rains, they can end up in surface water.

3. Apply Mulch
Applying two to three inches of mulch in the fall is beneficial in protecting plant roots from extreme temperatures in the winter months, and also helps to preserve moisture if the region does not receive enough precipitation.

4. Wrap Plants
Many plant varieties like roses, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas and crape myrtles can be damaged by sub-freezing temperatures. To provide plants with extra protection from the wind and cold, wrap them in burlap or a frost protection fabric and plant them along a building or fence that offers wind protection.

5. Fertilize
Look for a fertilizer with a formula designed to meet your lawn’s needs and follow application instructions on the product. The numbers on a fertilizer bag, in N-P-K order, indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, respectively, on weight basis. If you aren’t sure what your lawn needs, consult with a lawn care or landscape professional. A soil test can determine what ratio is best for your lawn. Be sure to check with your local agricultural extension office, as some locations regulate the time of year that fertilizer can be applied to reduce runoff.

Source: NALP 

Help put LOCAL food pantries OUT OF BUSINESS…

Move-for-Hunger2Did you know 304,000 children in Missouri are struggling to find their next meal? 1 out of 6 Americans don’t have enough to eat. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties has teamed up with Move For Hunger and challenge you to help us fight this problem in our local communities.

It really simple! When people move, they throw away a lot of “stuff.” Some of this “stuff” is food that could be given to a family in need. Why not Donate your food when you move.

  • You can find and book a mover who will donate your food when you move by visiting- www.DonateMyFood.org
  • You don’t need a mover? Drop off your non-perishable food donations at any of Berkshire Hathaway Select Properties 10 offices throughout the metro area and we will deliver it to our LOCAL food pantry.
  • From there, your donations will be sorted and delivered to local families in need.

Move for Hunger is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that works with relocation companies to collect non-perishable food items, and deliver it to food banks all across North America. Currently they are working with 601 Relocation Companies across 50 states and Canada. To date they have currently delivered over 4,178,962 meals to food banks across North America.

Please join Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties and Move for Hunger  in our fight to put food banks out of business…

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties WingHaven/Lake St Louis                   Office, 636-720-3000 & St Charles County Office, 636-720-1100                   Experience, Integrity & Teamwork, “Successful Formula For Better Results”

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MoDot to Make I-64 South Outer Road One-Way

Motorists who use the commuter lot between Route K and Route 94 in St. Charles County will need to change the way they enter and leave the lot.  MoDOT began work yesterday Monday, February 23rd to make the I-64 South Outer Road between Route K and Route 94 one-way. 

MoDot Outer Road

Commuters who normally access the lot from Route 94 will have to take the I-64 North Outer Road to Route K, turn left onto Route K and then turn left onto the I-64 South Outer Road.  Motorists wishing to leave the lot and head to Route K will have to go to Route 94 and take the I-64 North Outer Road back to Route K.

The change is part of a project that will convert the southbound Route K exit ramp to I-64 to a dual lane ramp.  This will help reduce congestion in the area, especially during the morning drive time. 

In addition, the signal at the I-64 South Outer Road and Route K will be changed so traffic exiting from eastbound I-64 and continuing to Route 94 will be able to continue through the intersection without having to stop. 

The project will also create dual left turns from the I-64 South Outer Road to eastbound Route 94. The project is expected to be completed in late May of this year.

For more details visit- MoDot.com

5 projects to complete before winter

The leaves are starting to fall off the trees, the birds are flying south and you can feel the temperature dropping. Winter is on its way and while squirrels pack away food before the first snow fall, you’ll be relieved to know that you still have time to finish some projects listed below to get your home ready for winter.

These simple steps will help you winterize your home so you can enjoy a happy, hazard-free holiday season.

  1. Tackle the yard. Your yard will fall into dormancy during the winter, but a little prep now can help your green space bounce back in the spring. Fertilize your lawn using a lawn spreader from your local rental store to turn this all-day chore into a task that takes just a couple of hours. And don’t waste the rest of your day raking the yard; instead, rent a leaf blower to finish this task in a fraction of the time.
  2. Seal the gaps. Find the places where cold air sneaks into your home and you will drastically reduce your heating bills throughout winter. Feel along your windows and doors for any drafts. Seal larger cracks with caulk and cover your windows in plastic wrap for comprehensive protection. If you have a real chimney, don’t forget to close the damper to prevent cold air from billowing down the chimney.
  3. Clean the carpets. The winter season can be hard on your carpets as snow, salt and dirt get tracked in from outside. Cleaning them before winter begins puts them in the best possible shape for the colder months ahead. You can hire a professional carpet cleaner or rent one to conquer the task yourself.
  4. Protect pipes from freezing. A ruptured pipe can ruin your home and everything in it. Ruptured pipes occur during winter when the pipes freeze and the frozen water inside expands. You can protect against this by never letting your home’s temperature fall below 65 degrees. Wrap pipes running along the exterior walls in heat tape, and be sure to check pipes on those bitterly cold nights.
  5. Empty the gutters. If left unchecked, falling leaves and other debris will clog your gutters and downspouts, which can cause ice dams in the winter. Start by trimming or removing trees and hedges near the gutters. If you lack the tools to complete this project, you can rent a brush cutter, tree trimmer or ladder to do the job. Once obstructions have been removed, clear the gutters to prevent a future home disaster.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties Saint Charles County Office 6149 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Charles, MO 63304 or 636-720-1100

Preserve your pumpkin carvings and keep them looking fresh

pumpkinPreserve your pumpkin carvings for weeks after Halloween…

With Halloween fast approaching, share this on you and your friends  page so you can remember to do this at carving time.

After you scoop out and carve your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water (use a 1 tsp:1 gal mix). The bleach will kill bacteria and help your pumpkin stay fresh longer. Once completely dry, (drain upside down), add 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brush this solution onto your pumpkin to keep it looking fresh for weeks.”

Have a Happy and Safe Halloween from your friends at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties St. Charles County Office & 365 Things to do in St Charles Missouri…

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties Saint Charles County Office 6149 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Charles, MO 63304 or 636-720-1100

Public invited to walk, run or cycle new section of Page Extension/Route 364

The latest section of Page Extension/Route 364 will open to traffic this weekend. The new 4.5-mile stretch of the route is between Highway 40 (Interstate 64) in Lake Saint Louis and Highway K in O’Fallon, MO.364 Phase 3

364 updated run logoSaturday the public can walk, run or bicycle on the new road. The no-vehicle event will  run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants are asked to make a canned food donation to Operation Food Search. Earlier Saturday at 7:30 a.m., St. Charles Kiwanis and Fleet Feet are sponsoring a 5K run on the new road. Register online at phase3run.itsyourrace.com.

Pets, large coolers, alcoholic beverages, glass bottles and motorized vehicles are not prohibited.

The Page extension’s first phase, from Interstate 270 in Maryland Heights to Heritage Landing in St. Charles, opened in 2003. A second phase, to Mid Rivers Mall Drive, was finished in 2012. The new stretch will open to traffic Saturday night or Sunday.

The final 4.5-mile leg of the $118 million third phase of the extension — between Highway K and Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters — is expected to open around Oct. 31st.

For more information on Saturday’s events check out this link Phase 3 Events for all the details…

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties Saint Charles County Office 6149 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Charles, MO 63304 or 636-720-1100

***Sources of information for this blog are courtesy of the Post Dispatch and Missouri Department of Transportation, MoDot***

Major Traffic Changes Coming to Route 94/Mid Rivers Mall Drive

364pageThe Missouri Department of Transportation and its contractor are making two major changes this week to the area of Route 94 and Mid Rivers Mall Drive as part of the final tie in with the Route 364/Page Phase 3 project.

Crews will switch traffic on westbound Route 364/Route 94 to the new bridge starting at 6 p.m. Friday, September 26.  Traffic will be reduced to one lane on westbound Route 364/Route 94 and motorists coming from Mid Rivers Mall Drive will need to yield before merging with westbound Route 364/Route 94 traffic.  In addition, the speed limit will be reduced to 35 mph.

Page Ext Mid Rivers Exchange

The lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday, September 29.  At that time, drivers coming from westbound Route 364/Route 94 will have two lanes on the new bridge to continue onto westbound Route 94.  This will be a temporary traffic condition until the new Route 364 opens and the ramp is put into its final condition with one lane coming from westbound Route 364/Route 94 and one lane coming from Mid Rivers Mall Drive.

In addition, a roughly month-long detour of eastbound Route 94 will begin following morning rush hour on Monday, September 29.  Crews will close all lanes of eastbound Route 94 at Mid Rivers Mall Drive and traffic our will be required to exit at Mid Rivers, go through the intersection and back onto eastbound Route 364/Route 94.  The detour will be in place until the second half of the project opens.

The public is encouraged to use alternate routes while crews work to make the final connection from Route 364/Page Phase 3 to the existing Route 364.

The new four-lane divided highway will continue Route 364 from the Mid Rivers Mall Drive/Route 94 interchange westward for nine miles where it will connect with Interstate 64 at the Route N interchange.  The first half from I-64 to Route K will open the weekend of October 4.  The second half from Route K to Mid Rivers Mall Drive is scheduled to open later this fall.

For more details on the closures or the project, go to www.modot.org/route364.

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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties Saint Charles County Office 6149 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Charles, MO 63304 or 636-720-1100